Natural Gas is God’s Gift to Humanity

Guest blog by S. A. Shelley: OK, another inciteful blog but that’s the OWOE writing team’s style, gleefully stoking controversy.

The term “fossil fuels” is one of the greatest marketing triumphs that the environmentalists ever adopted. “Fossil” suggests old and outdated, coming from some pre-historic, ancient, way-back, long-ago-dead biologic entities. The uses for fossil fuels also reflect “old” technologies, cooking, training and steam shipping (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1 Using Fossil Fuels from Ancient (left) to Modern Times (right)

Coal is definitely a fossil fuel and you can’t dig in a coal bed without digging up fossils of plants and animals. Oil maybe, but the abiotic origins of oil are just as likely as the biologic synthesis theories. However natural gas (methane) is very unlikely a fossil fuel. In our solar system, we have big planets and moons with significant amounts of methane comprising their atmospheres. Methane is quite common in our solar system and probably the universe. It is quite possible that impact events in the Hadrean or Archean eras could have deposited methane onto the earth.   

Why then is methane labelled a fossil fuel?  For one, methane results from certain biochemical processes. Secondly, methane arises during the decay of organic matter and coal beds often have pockets of methane associated with them. Thus, if coal is fossil fuel, then so too must be the associated methane. Grade school reasoning at its best. Yet a lot of methane also arises naturally in the coldness of space. Finally, in terms of energy transition and climate change arguments it helps if methane is lumped together with those other dirty fuels. Remember however, that compared to coal, burning methane to generate power releases 40% less CO2 emissions than coal per MWh generated. Blend about 10% hydrogen into the natural gas mix, something that can be done using existing gas pipelines and infrastructure and you’ll achieve another 5% reduction in carbon emissions per MWh generated. Doable, right?

But that’s the problem with a lot of politicians and ideologues on both sides of any argument. The goal now is to label something or someone as abhorrent and then run with it. Oppose my ideology, then you are a (pick one): Marxist, Fascist, idiot or patriarchal knuckle dragger. With the intense rhetoric tossed about it becomes nearly impossible then to reason for sensible steps that will move civilization towards a low carbon future. It is, by most politicians, more important to manufacture total consent and quash any dissent than it is to implement truly progressive solutions.

Natural gas is a part of the problem of carbon emissions, but it is also a very important step towards the solution of reducing carbon emissions. Kudos to the Philippines for choosing to build out gas infrastructure including LNG (  Energy Tracker  ;  AP News  ) instead of turning to the much more abundant coal from nearby Australia. Natural gas is the perfect two-sided coin to stoke outbursts from both sides of the energy and environment battle: But this is my position and I’ll stand by it even if I have to slap every Federal Liberal cabinet minister in Ottawa : Stop increasing coal exports (Canada’s coal exports up again in 2023 as government’s promised ban elusive | ) and start increasing natural gas exports to displace coal everywhere possible. Then shut down Line 5.

Vive l’Alberta Libre!

There Are Some Good Government Entities

Guest blog by S. A. Shelley: The U.S. Federal Government is a huge organization that is staffed by some very bright people. There are also nearly 1,000 advisory committees in Washington, comprising leaders from industry, science and the arts. For the most part, the advisory committees concern themselves with publicly available information and have public meetings, but there are a few which require security clearance and concern themselves with confidential matters of state. These advisory committees are a valuable resource upon which the Federal Government can call to review policies and assist with formulating strategies.

Continue reading There Are Some Good Government Entities